General: Perennnial herb from a branched, woody stem-base; stems several, erect to ascending, 20-60 cm tall, with mostly short, appressed to spreading, silky hairs
Leaves: Most basal on long stalks (in the north) to most along the stem and alternate on short stalks (in the south), palmately compound; leaflets 6 to 10, narrowly oblanceolate to elliptic, pointed to rounded at the tip, 2-9 cm long, 1-1.5 cm wide, glabrous or sparsely hairly above, stiff-hairy below.
Flowers: Inflorescence a terminal raceme of numerous, more or less whorled pea-like flowers, the racemes 5-15 cm long on stalks 4-8 cm long; corollas blue, rarely whitish to pink, 14-20 mm long, the banner circular and notched at the tip, glabrous, the wings usually glabrous, the keel glabrous or with a few fringing hairs along the upper edges; calyces 2-lipped, the lower lip 5-11 mm long, the upper lip 2-toothed at the tip, 4-8 mm long.
Fruits: Pods, 2-4 cm long, silky to coarse-hairy; seeds 5 to 8
Notes: Two subspecies, which intergrade where their ranges overlap, occur in BC.
1. Leaves mostly along the stems; longest leaf stalks 4-8 cm long.......................ssp subalpinus
Source:Illustrated Flora of British Columbia
Habitat / Range
Moist to mesic meadows, gravel bars, clearing, roadsides, thickets, and open forests in all zones; ssp. arcticus -- common in BC N of 55 N, ssp. subalpinus -- common in BC Sof 55 N, except absent from the Queen Charlotte Islands; ssp. arcticus -- N to AK, YT and NT, ssp. subalpinus -- S to N OR.
A shade-intolerant, montane to alpine, North American forb distributed in the Cordilleran and Central regions. Occurs in continental alpine tundra and boreal climates on nitrogen-rich (Moder or Mull humus forms): its occurrence increases with increasing latitude and continentality. Scattered to plentiful in early-seral and meadow-like communities in the coast-interior ecotone: often inhabits exposed mineral soil. Symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing organisms enhances the supply of available soil nitrogen. Characteristic of disturbed sites.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2021-04-18 10:47:33 AM
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